• Veduta di via Vignatagliata a Ferrara

    View of Via Vignatagliata
  • Foggiatura dell’argilla al tornio.

    Working clay on the potter’s lathe
  • Particolare della lavorazione.

    Modelling work

And who says that ceramics are really made of clay and that earth is the only material used? If well made, is is made of the same material as imagination that, as everyone knows, is the glowing combination of insignificant details of reality capable of generating continually evolving forms with elusive nuances, as iridescent as desires. There are whistles that recall barbarian jewels or even seem to be woven with the feathers of a hummingbird; yet, every now and then, Bottega delle Stelle gives flight to dreams made of icing and sponge cake cut into the shape of a village, with stairs climbing up to sugar caramel roofs as far as meringue clouds.

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Breathe life into a tiny bird or another clay creature. Perhaps this was the idea, in remote times, that inspired Man to make the first whistle. Archaeologists and ethnologists agree: the whistle, moulded from clay and fired in kilns, is perhaps as old as humanity itself. Small clay whistles have been found in the tombs of children dating back to ancient Greek times. In England, whistles were incorporated into chimney caps as a talisman. In the 1700s and 1800s in Bavaria, terracotta whistles were placed in cradles to protect babies against evil spirits until they were baptised. Until 50 years ago, toy sellers took whistles them to local fetes and hung them on display from characteristic stands or exhibited them in baskets. Then came press-worked metal whistles that could be played like an harmonica. Terracotta whistles were never made on an industrial scale using presses because the “whistling” part could only be made by hand. Today, new materials, shapes and colours are used for ceramic whistles that nevertheless remain magical, poetic and rather mysterious objects, at times grotesque or comical, yet always festive and auspicious.

La Bottega delle Stelle is owned by Riccardo Biavati and Antonella Manfredini and has been active in the contemporary ceramic art sector for many years. All articles are made using stoneware modelled and painted by hand using specifically developed glazes. They are fired at 1250 °C. All our ceramics are effectively unique pieces.

Biavati was to be found in Via Brasavola and every time he worked with clay he invented a fairy tale: moons, wizards and enchanted birds were among the objects - speechless yet having intimate sounds - progressively emerging from the scorching kiln. They dispensed an other-world charm made up of subdued, ancestral presences revealed by eyes with surreal shapes, be they of a man setting off on a journey or a bird in flight astride a slowly bubbling pot or a Sun resting where the wind is calm.. yet whatever way you look at this strange menagerie it whispers softly: mistake not your target, scrutinise the things hidden in your heart, they are alive and profound, but give you answers that everyday worries stop you seeing clearly ... I mean the pleasure that Riccardo gives us and that, at the end of the story, will touch each of us if you care to look into his animated world made of a kind soul that cannot be bought.

Monica Bracardi